Besides the move to inbound marketing, what are other manufacturing marketing trends?

One of my favorite trends is the increasing demand for measurable return on investment (ROI) for all marketing projects. Tough budget decisions are forcing companies to demand end to end accountability from marketing teams in relation to the projects they undertake. Just going to a trade show because your competitors are going is not good enough anymore. There has to be a measurable return and good companies are building these decision making processes into marketing and sales. Manufacturers tend to be very good at this type of data analysis on the factory floor, in procuring new equipment, or investing in technology but are just learning how to do this for ‘softer’ sides of the business like sales and marketing.

What are some benefits of inbound marketing?

Manufacturing experts becoming “thought leaders” and sharing their expertise as a way to attract interest and build credibility. This is usually done using content marketing through blogging and other online tactics to reach an audience in a non-traditional or sales focused way. Another trend that seems to have accelerated during this last economic down turn is not to replace sales people but to find new ways to service business using internal resources or outsourced services. Many manufacturers realize that they can find strategic partners to help them with demand generation and focus on customer service and support. There seems to be a growing acceptance of outsourcing non-core functions like inbound marketing.

Which new marketing tools offer customers an excellent return on investment?

There a lot of great tools out there but the one that consistently generates the highest ROI in terms of lowering the cost of lead generation and customer acquisition is HubSpot. Many customer relations management (CRM) tools are improving as well. More importantly CRM solutions now can be combined with inbound marketing tools to give marketing people and sales people greater insight into the buying process and allow them to add more value for prospects and customers.

What was one of the most successful marketing projects that you’ve worked on?

My favorite marketing project since we started Top Line Results is the one we did with MSI.MSI is a small niche manufacturer of capital equipment for the pipe fabrication and manufacturing industries. The owner wanted to embrace new ideas in order to survive the economic downturn and he trusted me enough to let us implement a basic inbound marketing program for the company.